Sunday, January 25, 2015

tana cafe

Yay, it's a long weekend! The Boyfriend and I went out on a lunch date this afternoon to one of my new favourite go-to-place, tana cafe.

I first found out about 'tana cafe' when I-Hua and Shellie both raved about this little gem on Instagram. Boy, am I glad they did!

I absolutely adore tana cafe; this quaint little cafe is set up so well with the perfect ambience. The Boyfriend and I spent our mid-morning just talking, reading the newspaper and enjoying our brunch.

It's a tiny place, but I really love the quirky interior fit out - so simple yet very cosy and welcoming.

Of course I had to have one of the sweet matcha latte. The Boyfriend and I had a cup each, and it wasn't enough. I swear, I could have had two, maybe even three.

It was oh so creamy and delicious! I usually add a teaspoon or two of sugar into my coffee, but because this was already slightly sweetened, there was no need to add more.

But the best part is, they use bonsoy so there's no aftermath of tummy issues for me yay! Even though I am lactose intolerant, I don't usually like soy milk, but this was different, in a good way, of course.

I can't actually pinpoint how that's made possible, but I'll give the barista full credit for making such a great cuppa!

Today we had corn mayo toast to start. The Boyfriend and I both love Korean corn cheese, and this is quite the same, except that it's served on delicious sourdough toast. Oh, it was delish!

The Boyfriend said, "I'll happily eat this for breakfast every morning!" Okay, challenge accepted! I'm looking forward to recreating this dish at home for him.

Baked eggs with multigrain toast was on specials menu today so I thought we'd give it a try. We thought the baked eggs were cooked really well, with a mix of Japanese and Moroccan taste.

Absolutely beautiful! This dish was hearty and filling, but not overwhelmingly so. That's what I love best about tana cafe - their take on really tasty meals that's healthy and not too rich.

I also particularly love how the egg yolks were still gooey. Sorry, no #yolkporn as I was too busy digging in.

We've also had this beautifully presented Japanese rice gratana during our previous visit, several weeks ago.

Brown rice baked in miso flavoured béchamel sauce, tasty cheese, ham, egg, beans, and topped with salad, pickled ginger and dukkah. It looked too pretty to be eaten, don't you think?

It was so tasty, yet still quite light on the palate - and that's exactly what I love about Japanese food. Although having said that, I guess I would have appreciated a little more of the bechamel sauce and cheese. But that's just me because I love my rice with sauce.

And of course, I simply could not resist the Japanese inspired croque monsieur that caught my eye!

I was sold at "miso flavoured bechamel sauce", but unfortunately we could barely taste the miso as it was only just a slight hint.

It was still delicious though. I particularly liked the addition of caramelised onion, which added a kick of deliciousness.

This is possibly the first croque monsieur that I've had that didn't make me jelak upon finishing. In fact I think I'd happily have another slice.

Tana Cafe on Urbanspoon
I love everything about tana cafe; from the cute fit out, to the light yet tasty food with Japanese twist, the friendly, polite service. and most importantly, their delicious housemade sweet matcha latte. ;)

tana cafe has a small menu, but everything we've tried thus far has been nothing short of delicious. I also appreciate how everything is very well priced too.

For all the obvious reasons above, I can totally see us coming back time and again! I was just saying to The Boyfriend this morning, "Let's come back again soon so I can try their mocha."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!!

Holla!! If you've been following me on Instagram, you'd know that I've just returned from a 3 weeks holiday in Malaysia with one tooth less, a slightly swollen jaw and fortunately for me, 3kg's lighter (yay!!).

Oh, don't get me wrong! I sure did indulge in all the local food during my stay. The Boyfriend and I also made a short trip to Penang to visit our friends and to enjoy all the good food.

Upon our return to KL, I had to put up with a lot of "Wah, you've gained a lot of weight!" remarks, from my parents, relatives and even my helper, which agitated me a lot.

But I've somehow managed to lose all that extra kilos that I've piled on following my wisdom tooth extraction surgery.

The surgery went really well, and I cannot reiterate enough how important it is to go to a good dentist.

If you're from Malaysia, and live close to Klang, I highly recommend Dr. Ngor from Emmanuel Dental Surgery Klang. He was so patient with all the concerns I had, and most importantly very gentle too.

I felt absolutely no pain at all during the local anaesthetic procedure, and throughout the surgery or even after that.

Unfortunately for me though, I was allergic to the painkiller that I was prescribed with. This resulted in me throwing up all my food and drinks for a whole 1.5 days.

I felt so sick and weak, I could barely even get out of bed. Except of course when I needed to throw up. All the spewing sadly injured the surgery wound, and at some point, the wound started to bleed again.

Obviously I couldn't take anymore painkillers, so I had to put up with the discomfort and relied slightly on Panadol. I also iced my cheek/jaw area externally to help soothe the pain.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I came down with a fever and cold the following morning. Thankfully I was home, in the care and support of my parents, who took such great care of me.

I did eventually get better and I'm all good now, except my mouth won't open as big as before seeing as the wound has yet to fully heal.

But I'll take all that pain I had to endure as a blessing in disguise though, as I am grateful for the weight loss. :P

I'm trying to maintain the weight loss and am doing my best to lose even more. So during the week since my return, I've been going to the gym, and have actually started eating clean. 

For breakfast and dinner, I usually have either overnight eats with chia seeds and fruits, or green smoothie/juice.

For days when I'm a little hungrier, I'd have an omelette with spinach, or a grilled chicken Maryland (without skin) or some stir fried vegetables. Sometimes I allow myself to indulge a little and I'll have eomukguk (Korean fish cake soup).

I've also started packing my lunchbox to work. I'm doing it "bento style" with a main, a side dish of vegetables and a side of protein.

Here's my effort over the past two weeks:

Lunchbox Week 1: Grilled Miso Chicken Breast as my main, stir fried vegetables with sesame seeds, nori tamagoyaki (seaweed egg roll). And yes, I ate the same thing for 4 consecutive lunches.

Lunchbox Week 2: Japanese hambagu (hamburger steak) as my main, edamame, cherry tomatoes, nori tamagoyaki (seaweed egg roll). This week though I mixed it up a little and sometimes have sugar free carrot kinpira or kimchi as my bento filler.

I try really hard to go carb and sugar free during the weekdays. I also ensure that I hit the gym at least 3-4 times, with a minimum of 40 mins to an hour time spent.

During the weekends, I allow myself a little leniency to enjoy some rice or noodles. This usually involves my favourite Korean dishes such as bibimbap or tteokbokki.

I also allow myself the chance to rest up during the weekends with sleep-in's and the chance to just roll around in bed.

In the evening though, The Boyfriend and I will take our newly bought bikes for a spin around his neighbourhood and sometimes even, if the weather permits, we'll do the trails together. 

I've been back for 10 days now and so far, I've lost a further 1.5kg!! :D

No doubt, I'm really proud of myself but at the same time I'm also pretty sure it's the early stages and I'm only losing all the water retention weight.

I know it'll get harder from here on but I'm not going to give up. I've never been this motivated before and I hope to keep this determination going until I hit my goal of losing a further 10kgs.

Truth be told, I've never liked what I see in the mirror, and I used to hate my body. But I've learnt to slowly give my body the love and attention it deserves.

This has helped not only with this whole process, but also gave me a boost of confidence. Instead of just sitting around and whining about how fat I've become, I'm actually doing something about it.

There are days when I return from work feeling really tired, and of course I'd just want to take a shower and jump into bed.

But these are the days when I have to work really hard to convince myself to drag my sorry arse to the gym.

Tell yourself surely you can spend just 10-15 minutes with a bit of exercise - that's how I do it, because once you're pumped you're going to keep going. 

For me, the hardest bit is actually getting there, but as soon as I'm there, there's no problem with pushing myself hard. 

I've even chopped off my hair because as silly as this sounds, I find it troublesome spending all that time washing and drying my hair.

It really puts me off from working out. So yes, I'm now donning a short asymmetrical bob which I absolutely love! 

I think I look a lot fresher, what do you think? 

Those who know me well, knows that I've been battling with my weight for years. Losing weight has become a staple item on my new year's resolution list.

But this year, I'm doing it a little differently. I've got it down as:

Love my body! Get fit and healthy!

Once you're fit and healthy, you'll eventually lose the fats. At least that's what I'd like to believe.

To all of you out there on the same journey to fitness as I am, good luck! Let's keep pushing hard to achieve our goals.

As the Koreans would say, "화이팅! Fighting!"

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday, Middle Fish! + New Menu Launch

I was recently invited to Thailand Middle Fish to celebrate their 3rd birthday and also a new menu launch. Woohoo!!

Yeah, I wish! I haven't flown to Thailand for a party (although that sounds like a fab idea) but the food that Middle Fish offers, is as authentic as it can get in Melbourne.

There were heaps of food, and even a cooking demonstration by Pla, who owns and runs Middle Fish, with her partner, David - both of whom were incredibly friendly.

Pla also got us all cracked up in laughter during the cooking class - she's very cute and has a great sense of humour, so much so that Ms I-Hua wanted to take her home. Crazy I know, but she's really, really nice and sincere!

Back to the food and drinks... Many started their day with a coffee, but The Boyfriend and I both had a Thai milk tea each. This is a must for us at every Thai restaurant. Oh, it was so refreshingly good - just what we needed that arvo when we had a taste of summer.

I was in awe to see the main table so beautifully set up with these Thai noodles in paper boats. Middle Fish served two different kind of Southern Thai curries to go with the noodles.

This is the Kang Tai Pla, well known for its unique flavour, but heck it was spicy. Spicy, but good and authentic. "It's like my mum (or was it grandmother's?) cooking," said Thai-born blogger, Katspat. That says a lot coming from a Thai, don't you reckon? ;)

Pla mentioned that she uses the curry paste that her family produces in their hometown in Thailand for all her recipes. She goes as far as to import these curry paste in to Melbourne to ensure the authenticity of the dishes served in Middle Fish.

If you love Thai fish cakes (like I do), then I highly recommend these mini fish cake burgers. A slight hint of spiciness, but the fish cakes patty were juicy, tasty and packed with flavours.

These tiger prawn springrolls were also really good, but I surprisingly preferred the mushroom springrolls better which I ironically do not have a picture of.

But if I had to choose only one dish as the highlight of the day, it'd be these amazing sa la pao! I've never had any pao's quite like these before. I might or might not have stolen that one missing piece. :P

I particularly enjoyed the pork kau kling (spicy southern thai dry curry) and chicken grapao pow pow (stir fried green curry with Thai basil) fillings. The buns were soft, and the fillings so tasty.

I'm a little sad I didn't get to try the sweet potato one, but I'm heading back for sure for more of these sa la pao's!

And then there was this beautiful chocolate & almond tea, to wash it all down before I moved on to the desserts.

How beautiful are these Thai desserts? I've never had them before, but they're basically made from egg yolk in sugar syrup.

They're called Tong Yib (golden flower) and Tong Yod (golden balls) - the name of these desserts are derived from the word "thong" which means gold in Thai.

They're known as "lucky Thai desserts" as the Thai's believe that gold which symbolizes fame and wealth, will bring good luck to them. How interesting!

And in case you were wondering, pla means fish in Thai, and Pla is the middle child in her family, hence the name - Middle Fish.

And while I'm at it, this is Middle Fish's special version of Luk Choop, a popular Thai dessert. Pla is so creative!

Made from mungbean, coconut milk and sugar, Luk Choop usually come in the form of fruits. Super cute, don't you reckon? I've learnt so much about Thai food in that few hours!

Pla offered for us to sit down and have a meal if we liked, and although I was quite full, I was also feeling very greedy.

So whilst many left to go home, The Boyfriend and I, stayed behind with Kat, I-hua and Aaron for brunch.

I'm so so glad we stayed though! I finally tried the Thai coffee with condensed milk, and loved it!!

This is after stirring the filtered coffee with the condensed milk. The coffee was rather strong, but the sweetness of the condensed milk was a great balance. Perfect combination!

I tried the Kao Tom Moo Kob - rice soup with crispy pork belly and a poached egg in chicken broth, Oh, the broth was SO SO SO GOOD and hearty. I drank it all!

The Boyfriend, on the other hand, had the soft shell crab burger. He was so full from all the eating at the event earlier, so he ate half his burger, then walloped the remaining crispy soft shell crab by its own and gave me a thumbs up.

We walked home, not only with well-fed tummies, but also with a goodie bag and recipe cards! I was so pleased we got to take home some curry paste that Pla so kindly shared with us.

Pla believes in "simple and tasty" recipes - all you need is a good paste. Since it's an easy recipe to follow, I think I'll get The Boyfriend to do it. He's seen Pla demonstrate the recipe step by step, and we've got the recipe card on hand too... I'll let you guys know how he fare. ;)

Middle Fish on Urbanspoon
Overall, a really fun event! Everything we had, food and drinks alike, were all fantastic. A big THANK YOU to Zilla & Brook for the invite, and Middle Fish for having us. I can't wait to head back for more sa la pao's and to try more items off their new menu. :)
Click on 'OLDER POSTS' for more! :)